Aetius: The winner of the Catalaunian Fields

Aetius was the most powerful general in West (magister militum) from 433 until his death in 454.

Diptych_Aetius

His greatest opponent was Attila (q.v.) and his greatest victory was the defeat of a Hunnic army under Attila in 451 at the battle of the Catalaunian Fields (q.v.). As a young man he spent years as a hostage to the Huns (q.v.), forming a friendship with
King Rugila, Attila’s uncle and predecessor. His most reliable troops in the defense of Gaul against the Germans were Huns, and, moreover, Aetius himself married a German bride. Valentinian III (q.v.) assassinated him in 454, despite his loyal service. Such were the ironies of Aetius’s career, ironies that reveal the complexity of Germano- Roman relations in the fifth-century West.

(Source: «Historical Dictionary of Byzantium», by John H. Rosser)

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